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What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and How is it Used in Behavioral Health?

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and How is it Used in Behavioral Health?

posted by: Nicole Hovey date: Sep 16, 2019 category: Blog comments: Comments Off on What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and How is it Used in Behavioral Health?

Behavioral health and addiction treatment providers know that different therapies help different conditions and populations. The BestNotes blog has been looking at some common therapy approaches used a behavioral health or addiction treatment practice.

What is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” that focuses on how a patient’s thought patterns have influenced their behavior and choices.

The American Psychological Association notes that CBT has three basic principles:

1) That many behavioral health problems “are based, in part, on faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking.”
2) These problems also are partly based “on learned patterns of unhelpful behavior.”
3) Patients with behavioral health problems “can learn better ways of coping with them, thereby relieving their symptoms and becoming more effective in their lives.”

CBT can be used in both individual and group sessions. The frequency can vary, but most CBT sessions are conducted on a short-term basis, usually in 5-20 sessions on a once-weekly basis.

During CBT sessions, the therapist gathers information about the patient’s behaviors, thought patterns, health history, and specific concerns. Together, the therapist and patient collaborate to determine the patient’s goals and the best strategies for achieving those goals.

Like other forms of psychotherapy, CBT encourages the patient to talk about their thoughts and feelings, the difficulties they are currently facing, and how to improve their health and lives. The therapist may assign “homework” between sessions, such as journaling about their feelings, confronting certain fears, or communicating with a loved one in a new way.

Part of CBT involves the patient adopting new ways of talking to themselves, interpreting a situation, and improving the way they respond to challenges. Patients learn to recognize inaccurate or unhealthy thought patterns that lead to negative and undesirable behaviors or feelings. CBT offers more accurate, productive thinking patterns that can lead to more positive choices and behaviors.

What is CBT used for?

CBT can be used for a variety of behavioral and mental health issues. Research has shown that CBT can help lessen or resolve problems that include:

Depression and anxiety disorders
Substance abuse and addiction
Relationship problems
Bipolar disorder
Grief and loss
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Eating disorders
Fears and phobias
Sleep disorders
Coping with physical disorders and limitations

Does CBT really work?

Studies have repeatedly found that CBT can effectively reduce symptoms of many behavioral health disorders or prevent relapses. Because of this, CBT has become the gold standard of psychotherapy.

One meta-review found that CBT helped with bulimia, aggression, and anxiety disorders
CBT is appropriate for all age groups
No currently available psychiatric approach has surpassed CBT in effectiveness
Because it is evidence-based, CBT can be customized to individuals and in response to new research

Improve the way you deliver CBT and other therapies to your patients

Treatment and management techniques for behavioral health conditions can be complicated. Whether your patients receive CBT or other types of therapy, the right EHR solution can help you and your patients set and achieve goals.

BestNotes EHR software was designed with you, your practice, and your clients in mind. Track patient progress, coordinate care with other specialists, and create all the documents you need with one optimal solution. Contact us today to learn more or request a live demo.

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